According to Reuters, however, the report was swiftly denied by Iraq's oil minister, Hussain al-Shahristani.
"Absolutely not. There is no intention at all to renegotiate the contracts," Shahristani told Reuters at the launch of a power plant project outside the city of Kerbala. . . . .
"We are contracted for announced production capacity of around 12 million barrels per day," he said. "But how much we will produce, really, this depends on the international market situation and the market demand."Early Warning received a similar denial from Reba Husari, editor of Iraq Oil Forum:
Halving the production target is nonsense. No one is talking about that. There are internal discussions on whether it makes more sense to increase the plateau periods for the giant fields, which would require reducing the original plateau agreed. That makes sense, both in terms of the "health" of the fields, and responding to market requirements. But each field is different and the same rule cannot apply to all. At this stage it's all internal and no one has approached the IOCs with anything concrete.Then the FT chimed in with a story affirming the gist of the report in the London Times, but emphasizing infrastructure restraints rather than any foreboding on the part of Iraqi officials about depressing prices:
[E]xecutives and officials have told the Financial Times that they are now firmly convinced that the target [of 12 million barrels a day within six years] is beyond reach because of mounting constraints in pipelines and export terminals. They believe that Iraq will soon scale down the target.
“I think the Ministry of Oil would not disagree with a ramp-up in production towards 5m-6m b/d by 2015 or so,” said Gati Al-Jebouri, the head of Lukoil in the Middle East. He said that even the lower target could be challenging. “Whether that is achievable given the infrastructure is a difficult question to answer.”